Thursday, January 13, 2011

Steelers’ Wheel: Pittsburgh Media Are Mum on the Connections of Pitt Med Center, Pittsburgh Steelers, and WWE Scandals

[posted 1/7/11 to]

The great city of Pittsburgh has much to be proud of. In the upcoming National Football League playoffs, the Pittsburgh Steelers may well win their record-extending seventh franchise Super Bowl (and their chances will be better if quarterback Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t get caught raping another woman over the next month). The Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby is, simply, the most magnificent hockey player on the planet; let’s hope he makes a full and speedy recovery from his current concussion. And the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is renowned for its research and care.

Unfortunately, there’s another story out there that isn’t so nice: some UPMC doctors have come under heavy fire for some of their outside work – with the NFL and its culture of head injuries, with World Wrestling Entertainment and its culture of multifaceted deaths, including from head injuries; and with a supplement company that seemingly doesn’t qualify as “Industry” under the medical center’s new-and-improved conflict-of-interest code.

So far, not a word about these controversies from any major Pittsburgh media. (Last month Pittsburgh City Paper, an alternative weekly, ran a cover story on the WWE talent wellness program, which managed to whiff on every hard-hitting angle of it.)

Ladies and gentlemen, here’s a weekend reading list:

“Muchnick Flashback: WWE Docs Governed by ‘Private’ Pitt Med Center Ethics Policy,” 12/14/10,

“New Threats From WWE Lawyer Jerry McDevitt,” 12/17/10,

“Knocking Heads Together: WWE Is the Next Frontier of Sports Concussion Reform,” 12/21/10,

“Pitt Med Center Doctors’ Supplement Company and WWE Ties Skirt Ethics Policy,” 1/4/11,

“Dr. Joseph Maroon’s Disturbing Pattern of Misstatements,” 1/5/11,

“Dear Senator Udall: Help Coordinate Concussion and Steroid Investigations,” 1/5/11,

Irv Muchnick

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